Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Sitka Spruce
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Mike Collins
Member
Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2606 | TRs

Mike Collins
  Top

Member
PostThu Dec 30, 2004 5:00 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I have yet to see the recent movie, Aviator, but Howard Hughes' airplane, the Spruce Goose, survives as a lasting legacy of the uses made of this tree. During WW I several thousand men were enlisted in the Spruce Service here in the Northwest to harvest Sitka spruce (Pinea sitchensis). The wood was used in construction of aircraft for England, France, and the United States in what was then called The Great War. Much of the timber was rived at a "cut up camp" in Fort Vancouver before being shipped by train to airplane factories. The wood was chosen because of its relative strength to its weight. The weight of lbs/cu ft of Douglas fir is 34 whereas Sitka spruce is 27. The wood is stiff, comparatively strong, and flawfree. It has also been used for ladders, folding bleachers, and racing shells. The propeller of the planes were made of hardwoods, principally Black Walnut. The tree is still in high demand, unfortunately often by timber rustlers, for use in musical instruments due to its high resonance quality. It has also been used as the sounding boards to guide ships through fog-bound waters.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Jamin Smitchger
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 673 | TRs
Location: Pullman
Jamin Smitchger
  Top

Member
PostThu Dec 30, 2004 11:31 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I am sorry, but what do sitka spruce look like. Do they have a pitchy cone that is sort of blackish colored.  smile.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
peppersteak'n'ale
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Posts: 1975 | TRs

peppersteak'n'ale
  Top

Member
PostThu Dec 30, 2004 11:38 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
here:

http://community.webshots.com/photo/125212458/125220342tEOPUG
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
NWHiker Whipping Boy
Member
Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 39 | TRs

NWHiker Whipping Boy
  Top

Member
PostThu Dec 30, 2004 11:42 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I have always wanted to goto see the spruce goose. Great looking building up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Mike Collins
Member
Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2606 | TRs

Mike Collins
  Top

Member
PostFri Dec 31, 2004 7:46 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yes, a black pitchy cone that points upwards. Squirrels have the habit of gnawing through the branch several inches before the cone and letting the cone then fall to the ground. Once on the ground they can more easily pull off the scales of the cone to get at the nut. You will often see small piles of scales where they have been active. If you hike past an area where you notice these branches on the ground stop and pick some up. The squirrels are quite territorial and will brazenly come down from the trees to "chase" you away from their stash.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
greg
Member
Member


Joined: 23 Jun 2003
Posts: 1159 | TRs

greg
  Top

Member
PostFri Dec 31, 2004 10:35 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Sitka spruce is also used for the topsheet of fine acoustic guitars, since its tensile qualities generate ideal vibrations for projecting sound. It is a very cool tree that thrives in wet coastal eniviroments, with broad, sweeping branches. Some of the finest specimens grow on the peninsula along the Bogachiel, Hoh, Queets and Quinault Rivers. Very prickly needles if you've ever grabbed a branch while whacking brush along those rivers.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
salish
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 2285 | TRs
Location: Seattle
salish
  Top

Member
PostFri Dec 31, 2004 11:09 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Interesting. I saw the Spruce Goose when it was in Long Beach CA., and it's pretty amazing.  Hughes was an amazing guy, too. I recall reading somewhere that the guys at the Boeing Museum of Flight used spruce to restore several of the vintage airplanes on display there.

I'm somewhat familar with traditional wood bows and bowmaking, and I wonder if spruce has been used by bowyers. I've never heard of it, but given it's strength to weight ratio that Mike has mentioned it would seem to be a good wood to use in a lamination. A fantastic wood for bows is the pacific yew tree, and the other top choice for bowmaking is Osage, but most are laminated with another wood for strength, performance, etc. I have a bow that is made from cherry wood and backed with a strip of hickory, for strength.

--------------
My short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my short-term memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Mike Collins
Member
Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2606 | TRs

Mike Collins
  Top

Member
PostFri Dec 31, 2004 2:51 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Osage is found in Missouri and Oklahoma. Has it been shown that the wood was traded to these areas? That would be unusual.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
salish
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 2285 | TRs
Location: Seattle
salish
  Top

Member
PostFri Dec 31, 2004 3:01 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Mike Collins wrote:
Osage is found in Missouri and Oklahoma. Has it been shown that the wood was traded to these areas? That would be unusual.

Mike, to the best of my knowlege, no.

--------------
My short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my short-term memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Stones
funk soul brother



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1596 | TRs
Location: in your soul kitchen
Stones
  Top

funk soul brother
PostFri Dec 31, 2004 3:18 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The real Spruce Goose was constructed mostly of laminated birch.  Sitka spruce was used in aircraft frames as in the Spruce Railroad hike reported by our Karen.

Spruce Railroad Hike

I picked up a classic book on trees published in 1908 and the photos show the section on Sitka spruce.



--------------
Let me stand next to your fire
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Mike Collins
Member
Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2606 | TRs

Mike Collins
  Top

Member
PostFri Dec 31, 2004 3:36 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I am all washed up with the cones. I had envisioned them as being upright.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
reststep
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4281 | TRs

reststep
  Top

Member
PostSat Jan 01, 2005 8:00 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I will have to check my book but I think the spruce service is what brought Herb Crisler to this area.

--------------
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
aestivate
Member
Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2004
Posts: 199 | TRs

aestivate
  Top

Member
PostSun Jan 02, 2005 12:19 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Mike Collins wrote:
Yes, a black pitchy cone that points upwards. Squirrels have the habit of gnawing through the branch several inches before the cone and letting the cone then fall to the ground.

You are describing the cones of true firs, the genus abies, as in silver fir, subalpine fir, or grand fir.  Sitka spruce cones, by contrast, are pendulous and light yellowish brown.

On the East side of puget sound, sitka spruce is quite localized, mostly found in low-elevation flood-plain forests. There's a bunch visible from I-90 right at the S Fk Snoqualmie crossing near North Bend.  There are also quite a few old-growth spruces visible in the lower 8 miles or so of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie. They survived because they are very limby, and hence their wood is knotty and not usable for airplanes or musical instruments.

The needles occur radially all around the twig and are *sharp*, unlike any of the other conifers that grow around here, and unlike the engelmann spruce that grows on the E side of the cascades. Bark is relatively thin, has a kind of purplish hue, and tends to come off in little plates. Very unlike the vertically furrowed bark of douglas-firs.

Sitka spruce is most abundant on the W side of the Olympics.  Any of the W-draining rivers like the Hoh, queets, bogachiel, or in the olympic park coastal strip, you will see a bunch of it.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Phil
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 2026 | TRs
Location: Shoreline, WA
Phil
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 03, 2005 2:07 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
wooly wrote:
I will have to check my book but I think the spruce service is what brought Herb Crisler to this area.

I recall that he was all about photography from the start.  Moved from Seattle to PA to set up a shop.  But I'm not confident about any of that, I have just a few recollections of the books on him I've read from the King County Library.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Phil
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 2026 | TRs
Location: Shoreline, WA
Phil
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 03, 2005 2:10 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Mike Collins wrote:
I have yet to see the recent movie, Aviator, but Howard Hughes' airplane, the Spruce Goose, survives as a lasting legacy of the uses made of this tree. During WW I several thousand men were enlisted in the Spruce Service here in the Northwest to harvest Sitka spruce (Pinea sitchensis). The wood was used in construction of aircraft for England, France, and the United States in what was then called The Great War. Much of the timber was rived at a "cut up camp" in Fort Vancouver before being shipped by train to airplane factories.....

Somewhere (Robert Wood?) I read the suggestion that some protected lands were un-protected supposedly for the war effort only to have the timber sold for other purposes.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Sitka Spruce
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy